Our first stop was the Bay of Biloxi, the place Hurricane Katrina first made land. Alice told us of the devastation Katrina had wreaked on Biloxi but the only evidence now was empty lots where people hadn't yet rebuilt, mainly because the insurance companies refused to pay out. Alice told us that where people had insurance for flood damage the insurance companies claimed it was hurricane damage, and where people had insurance for hurricane damage the insurance companies claimed it was flood damage - eternal shame on them!
After Katrina, the mayor of Biloxi, A.J. Holloway, and Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel spoke with Mississippi “chainsaw artist” Dayton Scoggins about sculpting marine-related figures from the dozens of standing dead trees in the median of Beach Boulevard in Biloxi like the one in the picture below. Whilst living trees are always preferable, the scultured trees are beautiful too and a reminder of the resilience of Biloxi and a memorium to what happened when Katrina hit, do click on the link to see more sculptures.
Click on pics to biggify
Nearby was a living oak that survived Katrina.
There is a memorial to the people of Biloxo who lost their lives when Katrina hit, it lists the names of all the dead including the people that were never identified, they were named as John or Jane Doe, the missing are also named.
There was also a glass case containing personal belongings which were found in the debris after Katrina (see picture below), if you click here you can see the items detailed. Seeing the memorial and the personal belongings was a very moving experience and we took a few minutes to pay our respects to the people who had lost their lives and applaud the courage of the survivors.
We walked around the harbour and took a photo of the boats anchored there
and an island that was created after Katrina's devastation.
We also learned that the Hard Rock Casino was originally built on a raft on the water following state law, but after Katrina the law was changed so that it could be rebuilt on land to encourage tourists to return to Biloxi.
MWM standing below the HRC guitar
Me checking out the memorabilia in the HRC
We continued our journey to New Orleans arriving at our destination just after midday and as we couldn't check into our rooms until 4 p.m. Jerome dropped us off in the centre of the French Quarter near the statue of Joan of Arc ( known as Joanie on the Pony locally) and the market.
We found a table outside on of the many cafes and had a delicious po-boy for lunch whilst listening to a jazz band playing before having a quick walk round to take some pictures before it was time to meet the coach again to take us to our hotel.
Two of the many balconies in the French Quarter
St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, French Quarter, New Orleans
At 4p.m. we met Alice and Jerome at the appointed place and were taken to our hotel, The Sheraton on Canal Street, within a few minutes walk of Bourbon Street. Alice had already checked us in, telling us, as she gave us our keys, that our luggage was already in our rooms and we should meet at 6 p.m. at the Blue Cow
in the foyer of the hotel.
for our first excursion in New Orleans, dinner on a Riverboat cruising the Mississippi whilst listening to a Jazz Band.
The hotel was just fabulous, here's the view from our room
and this view was quite unexpected
We all met up at 6 p.m. for the short journey to the Mississippi River to board the Sternwheel Steamboat Natchez
where we were entertained by the Calliope being played on the top deck. (click here to hear it). We had the obligitory photograph taken before we boarded and we liked it so much we bought it. (The picture - not the boat!!!!).
Once on board we were ushered into the dining room, where we enjoyed a buffet of southern cuisine, (you can see the menu here), which we thoroughly enjoyed before going out on deck
to watch the sun go down
and listen to the superb Dukes of Dixieland jazz band.
All too soon the Natchez returned to it's dock and it was time to board the coach again to go back to the Sheraton for a good night's sleep. It was the end of a perfect first day in N'awlins.
Please join me for Dixieland - Part 3 for day 2 in N'awlins, coming soon.
Read Dixieland Part one here.
This will be my last post for a week or so, as we're off on another holiday on Friday, this time to Wales with our sons and grandchildren. Of course I'll be taking lots of photographs. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather for us, so that the grandchildren can spend all their time on the beach.